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Summer 2009 Vol. 16. No. 4 Focus on Teacher Excellence

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No Easy Road, Part 2

By by Benjamin Herold on May 20, 2009 04:04 PM

For thousands of city teens, 9th grade is a new world full of opportunity and peril. Successfully completing freshman year means nearly doubling their chances of graduating from high school. But what does this make-or-break year look like from the perspective of the students going through it?

Last edition, we looked at 9th-grade transition supports through the eyes of Corey White, who arrived at his high school, Academy at Palumbo, 90 minutes early every day for extra instruction; Dominique Holloman, whose freshman seminar helped her adjust to life in Audenried High School; and Will Green, who was struggling to find his place at South Philadelphia High School.

Vital to these students’ success is access to highly effective teachers. With the school year drawing to a close, we check in on each student’s progress and explore how key teachers, past and present, have tried to impact their learning – and their lives.

From the Summer edition of the Notebook

The ties that bind
For three 9th graders sharing their stories with the Notebook, connecting with teachers is a critical step in staying engaged with school and on track to graduation.

Corey's 'Othermother'

Photo: Harvey Finkle
“From day one,” says Robin White of her son’s all-time favorite teacher, “Ms. Bell just felt like family.” On April 25, The Notebook was there as Corey, his mother, and Donna Bell-Koon reunited to share their memories and insights about the teacher’s impact on Corey. Check out the multimedia slideshow here.

About the Author

Additional reporting by Todd Friedman

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